What is it about the humble pig that holds such a special place in our hearts?
In a frosty field on the longest night of the year, eight little piglets snuffle their first breaths, and jostle close to their mother to feed...
Over the six months that follow, lifelong farmer Helen Browning and her partner Tim Finney record their adventures to show how pigs become the mischievous, competitive, intelligent and inventive animals that we know them to be. In doing so, they demonstrate why it is so crucial that the welfare of our farm animals - and equally, the way we manage our countryside - takes centre stage in the contemporary discussions around food, climate change and the loss of wildlife.
Lyrically told and drawing on a lifetime's worth of knowledge, this is a timely and entrancing exploration of our relationship with farm animals, with nature, and with life itself.
‘Helen Browning has that rare combination of a being a highly successful, hard-headed farmer with real emotional intelligence and a burning commitment to the sustainable health of our environment and the food we produce as well as the ability to express all these things in beautifully-crafted language. Anyone who has any interest in what we eat, how we produce it or how we should manage the landscape for our children should read this book.’
‘I can think of no-one better equipped to tell it how it is. A lifetime tenant farmer and an organic pioneer who needed to make her farm profitable. A campaigner for the values of this farming method – not as a niche market but a vital means of farming in a sustainable way for all our benefits – is not a preacher but a practician. This makes her story invaluable.’
‘Entrepreneur, mother, farmer, idealist: Helen Browning is the best of modern heroes. PIG is full of brilliant, vivid and eye-opening detail about the realities and hard work of a modern organic farmer’s life, but more than that it is a book about Helen’s championing of values – her care for the animals she raises and for the land on which she farms, for her own family’s wellbeing and their future, the natural networks of which they are a part, the political world in which all this operates and the welfare of the customers who will eat the food she grows. What deeper or richer engagement could there be with what matters in life?’
Adam Nicolson, author of The Seabird’s Cry (Winner of the Wainwright Prize 2018)
‘PIG is something of a revelation! Weaving strands as diverse as pig-husbandry, advising ministers, organic farming, family dynamics, animal welfare and the challenge of leadership, Helen Browning has created a multi-coloured garment that warms and delights in equal measure.’
Jonathan Porritt, Co-Founder of Forum for the Future
Your name *